Tasting Innocence is now available!

TASTING INNOCENCE #2 IS NOW AVAILABLE!!! mybook.to/TastingInnocence


(But you don’t have to. All books are standalones.)

PREORDER Breaking Free (South River University #3)

Release Date: July 15 mybook.to/BreakingFREE

PREORDER Tempting Him (South River University #4)

Release Date: August 19 mybook.to/TemptingHim


Falling for my best friend’s sister was something I never thought I’d do. Not only have I known Violet for almost her whole life, but Renzo was sure to give all his friends the don’t touch my sister speech as soon as she became a teenager.

After a drunken night when we were snowed in at a cabin, I may have been too flirtatious. I think I freaked her out, because she’s refused to talk about what happened since then. But after a weekend away with friends, me and Violet end up alone, and confessions are finally made.

She’s too good for me—sweet, pure, and innocent. I’m tainted with a reputation that does me no favors. Renzo knows I’ve never committed to anyone. He knows everything about me and the many women I’ve been with, and that’s why I know he’ll never be okay with me and his sister being together.

After a taste of Violet, I know I’ve finally found something worth fighting for, even if I have to fight my best friend.

Stealing Ronan is now available

Stealing Ronan wasn’t the plan. I’d never imagined I’d steal a boyfriend from my sister, but when I saw him strutting to my couch with his perfect body, gorgeous face, and that mouth—God, that mouth, it was like he was plucked from my wettest dreams and brought into my life just for me.

Lusting after a straight guy who’s dating my sister is a problem in itself, but the bigger problem comes when he’s invited on a family trip with us for Christmas. Just as I thought I was doing a pretty good job ignoring his soft lips and curious gazes, we’re hit with a furious blizzard, leaving me and Ronan locked up together. Alone.

We’re only snowed in for two days, but things heat up quickly, because it turns out I’m not the only one with a fascination.


Release Date: June 10



Release Date:July 15



Release Date: August 19


Chapter One of Stealing Ronan


“What’re you doing here, ugly?” my sister Violet asks as she sashays down the hall like it’s a fucking runway.

“I live here, in case you forgot.”

She rolls her eyes and flips her blond hair over her shoulder. “I mean, it’s Saturday. Why aren’t you partying with your frat bros?” She changes her voice for the last two words, like she’s mocking me.

“First off, I’m not in a frat, so I don’t have frat bros, and you know that, and secondly, I don’t need to party every weekend.”

She scoffs, making her way through the living room and to the kitchen where she grabs a bottle of water from the fridge.

“Well, go find something to do. I have someone coming over.”

I saunter into the kitchen with a grin on my face. “Oh? Does my baby sister have a boyfriend?”

She grins. “We’re…talking.”

“Do Mom and Dad know about this guy?”

She looks at me like I’m dumb. “Of course not, and they won’t know, because they aren’t going to be home until next week.”

“Is he spending the night?”

“Ugh. You’re so annoying. Go find some guy to jack off or something.”

“Nah, I’m good. Already did that earlier,” I say, even though it’s not true.

Violet pushes past me and starts rearranging the pillows on the couch. “What’s the best place to order food from?”

“Well, there’s all the pizza places, and a couple Chinese spots.”

“I don’t really want anything too greasy. Is there a place that delivers like salad or something?”

“Look on DoorDash or something. I’m sure there’s a restaurant that serves salad.”

“Okay, thanks.” She walks up to me, all five foot five of her, and pushes up on her tiptoes to kiss my cheek. “I love you, big brother, but it’s time for you to leave.”

“I can’t believe you’re trying to kick me out. Look, I’m not going anywhere, but I’ll stay in my room. That cool? I got a couple homework assignments I have to work on anyway.”

“Ugh. Fine.” She points a finger at me. “Don’t be annoying.”

“I am older than you, you know.” 

She laughs. “Dad is older than Mom, and she’s still the boss.”

“Whatever. I’m going to my room. Don’t do anything stupid.”

A saccharine sweet smile spreads across her face, but she just waves me off with a few fingers.

In my room, I order a pizza for myself, then sit down at my desk to finish my homework. Before I can even begin, my phone vibrates with a text from my friend Dex.

Dex: Hey, dude. Party at Trevor’s. You coming?

I drop my head back with a sigh. Like any twenty-year-old college student, I enjoy my fair share of parties, but me and Trevor have a bit of a past, and unfortunately, it’s not that far in the past.

We hooked up at the last party he had two weeks ago, but none of our friends know. Reason why? He’s deep in the closet. So much in the closet that when he woke up after our night together, he freaked out and tried to act like he didn’t remember what happened. But he knows, because I can see the memories flashing across his eyes when he looks at me.

Shit’s awkward as fuck, and I don’t feel like being around him right now.

Me: Nah, I have a lot of work to catch up on. Next time.

It’s not that I haven’t been with closeted guys before, because trust me, in college, there’s plenty. I don’t mind being the one who blows open their world when they realize just how much they love sucking a cock. Hell, I’m all for being the sexual awakening for guys who thought they were straight, but let’s be honest. More often than not, way deep down inside, they know. They just don’t want to acknowledge or act on it. Probably because of their families. Luckily, I have a great one. I haven’t been closested since I was twelve.

Thirty minutes after I start my work, I get notified that the pizza is being delivered via the app I ordered from, so I get up from the leather chair and leave my room, heading toward the front door.

Violet’s head snaps in my direction as soon as she hears my footsteps on the hardwood floor, and her green eyes narrow at me.

“I’m just getting my pizza,” I say, holding up my hand, eyeing the bowls of salad on the coffee table. “Where’s your boyfriend?”

“Just hurry up and go.”

I chuckle, pulling open the door and grabbing the pizza from the delivery guy. “Thanks, man.”

“Your guy’s okay with eating rabbit food?” I call out, heading to the couch.

“Shut up,” she hisses. “He’s gonna be out of the bathroom any second.”

A noise to my right gets my attention, and the guy my sister’s spending time with tonight strolls in, looking exactly like the type of guy I’d love to have some fun with.

He’s almost as tall as me, probably just under six feet. I can’t see much of his body, but I’d bet he’s probably hiding some muscles under that long-sleeved black shirt he’s wearing. His hair is short on the sides, but long on the top—long enough for me to be able to tug on. It’s styled in a way that you can tell he could run his hand through it, and it would stay perfectly in place.

His face has little facial hair, giving him an innocent vibe, and I’ve always loved corrupting the innocent.

“Hey,” I greet, lifting my chin.

He gives me a nod and smile. “Hey. I’m Ronan.”

I take his outstretched hand in mine and shake it. A jolt of desire runs up my arm and into my chest, then down to my cock.


“Nice to meet you.”

Ronan walks past me, parking himself on the couch next to my sister. She shoos me away, widening her eyes and clenching her jaw while mouthing, go.

“Hey, man, you want a slice of pizza or something?” I offer, needing to see him a little longer while also pissing my sister off. I jerk my head toward the salads. “Seems like you might need a little more to fill you up.”

The statement drips with innuendo, and it takes all my strength to not lick my bottom lip and grin at him, making sure he gets the message.

He looks unsure of what to do, his eyes passing between me and Violet as she struggles to conceal her annoyance.

“Yeah, sure. Thanks. I just came from practice, so I’m starving.”

“Practice?” I question.


My eyes try to peruse his body again, but he’s all covered up. “Cool.” I open the box and stand behind the couch, letting him reach in to grab one. “Do you go to school with Vi?”

He shakes his head, having already taken a bite. I watch him chew and swallow before he answers. “I’m in college.”

I raise a brow, glancing at Violet who’s basically fuming. “Is that right? Which college?”

“South River.”

My pulse speeds up when I realize he’s at the same college I go to, but for whatever reason, I choose not to disclose that. How have I not seen him before? Well, it’s a big campus, so it makes sense, but still. He’s too hot to not notice.

My sister huffs, taking my attention off Ronan’s blue eyes and pink lips. “Well, I guess I’ll head back to my room.”

“Okay, bye,” Violet says right away.

“Take another one,” I tell Ronan, gesturing to the pizza. “I won’t finish it by myself anyway.”

His eyes flicker up at me, baby blue shining between dark lashes, and I can’t help but imagine how he’d look up at me if he was on his knees, ready to take my cock. “You sure?”

“Mm.” I nod. “Go ahead.”

“Thanks, man.”

I turn and make my way back to my room, but now I can’t focus on my work. All I’m thinking about is what the hell those two are doing out there, and why the universe would send the hottest fucking guy into my life via my sister.


Cover & Blurb Reveals

This series is an interconnected stand-alone series, taking place in a fictional town in Michigan. They’re all gonna be hot, quick reads that feature some of your favorite tropes.

•𝙎𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧’𝙨 𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙 (𝙈/𝙈)

•𝘽𝙧𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧’𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙 (𝙈/𝙁)

•𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙨 𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚/𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙢𝙞𝙚𝙨-𝙩𝙤-𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨 (𝙈/𝙈)

•𝙎𝙩𝙪𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙩/𝙏𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙧 (𝙈/𝙈 𝙬/𝙢é𝙣𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙨𝙘𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨)

𝑺𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑹𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒏 (𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝑹𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝑼𝒏𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒚 #1)

Release Date: May 6

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SRU1TBR

PREORDER STEALING RONAN #1 mybook.to/StealingRonan


Stealing Ronan wasn’t the plan. I’d never imagined I’d steal a boyfriend from my sister, but when I saw him strutting to my couch with his perfect body, gorgeous face, and that mouth—God, that mouth, it was like he was plucked from my wettest dreams and brought into my life just for me.

Lusting after a straight guy who’s dating my sister is a problem in itself, but the bigger problem comes when he’s invited on a family trip with us for Christmas. Just as I thought I was doing a pretty good job ignoring his soft lips and curious gazes, we’re hit with a furious blizzard, leaving me and Ronan locked up together. Alone.

We’re only snowed in for two days, but things heat up quickly, because it turns out I’m not the only one with a fascination.

𝑻𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑰𝒏𝒏𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 (𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝑹𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝑼𝒏𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒚 #2)

Release Date: June 10

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SRU2TBR

PREORDER TASTING INNOCENCE #2 mybook.to/TastingInnocence


Falling for my best friend’s sister was something I never thought I’d do. Not only have I known Violet for almost her whole life, but Renzo was sure to give all his friends the don’t touch my sister speech as soon as she became a teenager.

After a drunken night when we were snowed in at a cabin, I may have been too flirtatious. I think I freaked her out, because she’s refused to talk about what happened since then. But after a weekend away with friends, me and Violet end up alone, and confessions are finally made.

She’s too good for me—sweet, pure, and innocent. I’m tainted with a reputation that does me no favors. Renzo knows I’ve never committed to anyone. He knows everything about me and the many women I’ve been with, and that’s why I know he’ll never be okay with me and his sister being together.

After a taste of Violet, I know I’ve finally found something worth fighting for, even if I have to fight my best friend.

𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑭𝒓𝒆𝒆 (𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝑹𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝑼𝒏𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒚 #3)

Release Date:July 15

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SRU3TBR



At a party on a rival college campus, I drunkenly stumble into a bathroom just as a tall, muscular man steps out of the shower…naked.

Instead of fleeing, I stay put and end up having the hottest bathroom hookup with someone whose name I don’t know. Because I’m still in the closet, I don’t talk about what happened that night, glad that it was with a guy who doesn’t live in the same town.But come Monday morning, the naked man from the bathroom strolls into the locker room and locks eyes with me.

His name is Dominic and he’s new to campus and trying to take my spot on the team, which makes me hate him. It’s too bad I loved everything he said and did to me the night we met, but I can’t let him get to me with his cocky smirks and filthy words. I have to focus on keeping my position on the team, but I can only think about the positions I want to be in with him.

He’s arrogant where I’m modest. I’m docile where he’s domineering. We’re complete opposites, so it could never work, but being with him makes me want to break free from the chains that have kept me in the closet, because he’s also the firm hand to my wavering confidence and I’m the moth drawn to his flame.

𝑻𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑯𝒊𝒎 (𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝑹𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝑼𝒏𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒚 #4)

Release Date: August 19

Add to Goodreads:-http://bit.ly/SRU4TBR

PREORDER TEMPTING HIM #4! mybook.to/TemptingHim


It all started when a girl I hooked up with in the past invited me to have a threesome with her and her boyfriend Vince. Seeing as how I’m bi, single, and open to a good time, I had no qualms about this. However, there were rules.

No kissing or touching Liv’s boyfriend as he was doing this for her and wasn’t interested in being with a man at all.

Fine, I don’t mind this scenario either.

However, one time turns into two, two turns into three, and with each time we get together, he starts looking at me a little different and doesn’t pull away if I brush against him.

When Liv breaks up with him, it effectively puts a stop to our fun, but then I run into him at a bar. After a few drinks, several lingering touches, and an almost kiss, I begin to wonder if he’s as straight as he thinks he is.

Before things can escalate, school starts up, and I walk into my English Lit class and find out that Vince is none other than Vincent Coleman—my professor.

Risking it All is live!

Ten years ago, I kissed my best friend.
Six years ago, my life changed and I went from being an unknown kid from a small town to a world-renowned rock star. Before leaving Gaspar, I told Ali we’d still be together. I made promises I didn’t keep, and I lied over and over again. I threw our plans out the window and made a life for myself.
I’ve barely had time to go home, because touring keeps me away. We haven’t been in touch in years, but after this tour, I’m heading home to find the only person who knows my deepest, darkest secret, and beg for forgiveness.
Ten years ago, I kissed my best friend, and his name is Alejandro Barerra. My Ali.
He may never forgive me for the broken promises or for breaking his heart, and I’m afraid he’ll never want to talk to me again, but he’s the only one who knows the real me, and I’m determined to win him back. Even if it means risking it all.

Amazon: mybook.to/RiskingitAll

Goodreads: bit.ly/RiskingitAllGR

#1 (Explicit)
Sprawled naked across the bed, I watch Merrick as he grips the bottle of Johnnie Walker and pours a small amount of the amber liquid on my chest. The alcohol drips off both sides, and travels down the middle of my stomach.
Merrick leans over me and licks the whiskey from my skin. “Mm,” he moans, gazing up at me with hooded, lust-filled eyes. “This is the best threesome we could have.”
“The only threesome we’ll have.”
He chuckles. “Someone doesn’t like to share.”
He crawls on top of me, straddling my hips while wearing nothing but his boxers. “Open your mouth for Johnnie.” I do as he says and he carefully pours a sips worth of the alcohol into my mouth. “Now open up for me.”
Merrick frees his erection through the slit in the boxers and scoots up, running the tip across my bottom lip.
I open my mouth and swirl my tongue around the circumference of his cockhead before he pushes in farther.
“Goddamn,” he groans.
He fucks my mouth for a minute before climbing off me. “Mm,” I moan, licking my lips. 
“Who tastes better? Me or Johnnie?” he asks teasingly.
“I’m not sure,” I reply, reaching down to stroke my cock. “I may need another taste test.”
Merrick shoots me an unamused look before wrapping his lips around the head of the bottle and swallowing down a mouthful of whiskey.
“Come suck the taste off my tongue,” he commands.
I scramble up and get on my knees, capturing his face in my hands, and plunge my tongue in his mouth. I suck his whiskey-flavored tongue into my mouth, eliciting a low moan from his throat.
“Lay down,” I tell him.
He lifts a brow but lies his large body across my mattress. I yank his boxers down, revealing his impressive erection. I keep to the side of him and steal the bottle from his hand, and pour a generous amount of the liquid onto his stomach. The man is so cut, the alcohol pools in the crevice between his abs.
I drop down and slurp the liquid into my mouth, taking some time to lick up the trails that traveled a little lower.
#2 (Clean)
“Why me?”
He furrows his brows. “What do you mean?”
“Why do you want me?”
“Have you not heard what I’ve told you?” he asks, taking a step forward.
“You’ve said I’m everything to you. Yeah, I heard that.”
“But,” he offers, knowing I have more to say.
I drop my arms and grip the edge of the dresser. “But those are just words. We’ve said a lot to each other over the years. You’ve consistently told me one thing just to do something that completely contradicts it. Why should I believe you now? Or ever?”
“I’m trying to get you to realize I’m not like that anymore. If I say something, I want you to believe it. I’ve had years to dwell on my bullshit. I’ve had so many regrets, and honestly, if I was in your shoes, I don’t know if I’d forgive me. But you’re better than me, Ali. You always have been, and you make me want to be better. For you.”
My heart sings at his words, but I can’t allow myself to be naive. “Let’s pretend I tell you that I forgive you for everything and that you do have a chance. Then what? This is the problem we always had. I let you suck me back into a secret relationship because you weren’t out yet, and that’s still the case. I will not be a skeleton in your closet. I will not be forced to love you in secret.”
He takes the remaining steps to reach me, wrapping his hands around mine. “Tell me I have a chance, Ali. Tell me you’d give us one last shot and I’ll risk it all. I’ll risk everything for you. For us.”

𝕆𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 ℝ𝕠𝕔𝕜𝕤

𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵…

On the Rocks is the first steamy standalone in the Kingston Brothers Series. Pull up a bar stool and prepare to be entertained as two people fall for each other in this angsty, slow burn romance that will have you fanning yourself! 

Amazon mybook.to/OntheRocks

𝕋𝕣𝕦𝕥𝕙 𝕠𝕣 𝔻𝕒𝕣𝕖

A risqué game of Truth or Dare has lines being crossed between two long-time friends. 

𝘐 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘮𝘦.


𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦.

A short-lived fling is all she’s expecting, but he’s ready to prove they’ve always been meant for each other.

Amazon: http://mybook.to/TruthorDare

𝔸𝕘𝕒𝕚𝕟𝕤𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖 ℝ𝕦𝕝𝕖𝕤

𝗔 𝗼𝗻𝗲-𝗻𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗜 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀.  𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝘂𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝗲𝗿, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗿𝘁𝘆 𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝗿𝗲𝘁, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗱𝗼𝗻𝗲.



•𝘈𝘨𝘦 𝘨𝘢𝘱

Amazon: mybook.to/AgainsttheRules

Chapter One of Risking it All

Hey, all! I decided to drop chapter one so you could get a little taste of what’s to come. If you’ve read the other books, you might have noticed little hints here and there, especially in Against the Rules. Merrick’s book, in present time, is actually five years after Against the Rules, but we have flashbacks to witness how his journey with Ali began, and how it progressed. Chapter one is the “remember that night” moment he had with Elijah in Against the Rules. If you haven’t read any of the others, no worries, you don’t need to.


10 Years Ago


“So, what’re we gonna do this summer?” Ali asks, taking a sip of beer.

“Shit, it’s not like we have many options. We can have bonfires out at the circle of trees. Go to the mall or the pool.” I take a drink out of my own beer bottle. “I’m fine just hanging out here. Me and the guys set up in the garage and just play music. Maybe we can find some events to play at.”

Ali nods and then puts the joint between his lips and inhales. He’s not real close with Jay, Carlos, or Sky, but they don’t hate each other either. Sometimes he hangs out in the garage when we play, but usually it’s just me and the guys, and occasionally some girls, depending on who’s dating who at the time.

“Your brother’s not home, is he?” he questions, passing me the joint.

“Nah. I think he’s at work.”

Me and Ali sit on the steps leading to my backyard, drinking the beer he swiped from his mom’s house and smoking the joint we got from Leo—the known pothead of our high school.

“You’re lucky you always have the house to yourself,” he says. “My mom’s always up my ass about something. I gotta clean, do homework, cut the grass, help my sister with something. It’s never ending.”

I finish the beer and open another one. “Yeah, but at least you have a mom.”

Ali cringes. “Sorry, bro. I forget. I’m grateful I have her, but … you know.”

“Don’t worry about it. I get it. Elijah makes me do shit around the house, too. It’s not like I don’t have a parent figure. He definitely acts like my dad, so it’s not like it’s easy around here.”

We’re silent for a minute, drinking and smoking, even though we both know we shouldn’t be doing either. We’re only sixteen, but it’s not like we’re the only people doing it. Our school is crawling with kids who are eager to do both. Some do it to fit in or be cool, but I started doing it in the hopes that it would keep certain thoughts at bay.

My parents died when I was eleven, leaving my oldest brother to care for me and my other two brothers. It’s hard thinking about them and knowing they’ll never be around again. Sometimes you need their advice and guidance, especially as you grow older.

I met Alejandro last year, and quickly started calling him Ali. He says he hates it, but I think he’s gotten used to it by now. He decided to get me back by calling me by my last name, but that doesn’t bother me.

Any time I’m not with the band, I’m with him. We became fast friends, and soon after, I started having these feelings … these urges.

Sometimes I want to kiss Ali. He makes me laugh constantly, and his smile makes me smile. My heart has threatened to burst out of my chest when I’ve been in his room and he started undressing. I’m not supposed to think about him like that, but I can’t help it. He’s the first person I’ve felt any sort of attraction to. At least like this.

Sure, I’ve seen guys on TV who I’ve thought were good-looking, but women are pretty, too. I just don’t feel anything when I look at them. I feel everything when I look at Ali.

Me and him can talk about anything. Well, almost. I haven’t told him about this. How can you tell your same-sex friend that you find him attractive? How can you admit to something that you don’t really want to acknowledge yourself?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m gay, and I don’t know how to deal with that. So I drink and I smoke and I try to pretend I’m into girls. That’s what most sixteen-year-olds do, right?

But there are moments, very brief moments, when I think Ali might like me too. Not just as friends, but as more. Maybe I’m seeing things that I want to see. Maybe he doesn’t glance at my lips when I talk. Perhaps that tiny little lip bite he did when I took off my shirt to jump in the pool was meant for someone else.

“What do you think about Mindy?” I ask, drinking more of the bitter tasting beer. 

“What about her?” he asks, his voice dripping with disgust.

I laugh. “You don’t think she’s cute?”

“Fuck no!”

“Why not?” I ask, laughing harder. “She’s got dirty blond hair, pretty eyes, and a decent body.”

Ali scoffs. “So do you.”

I sober up, sitting straighter and wondering if I heard what I thought I heard. Did he compliment me? My body? “What?”

His eyes are wide when he looks at me, then he starts laughing. “I’m just saying … that doesn’t automatically mean someone’s attractive.”

It takes a minute before my heart rate slows down. “Oh. Well, she asked me out.”

“She asked you out?”

“Why do you sound so surprised? I am attractive.”

Ali rolls his eyes as he laughs. “Whatever, man. That girl asks out everybody. She’s just a slut.”


He shrugs, then takes a sip of his beer while I puff on the joint. “Why do you like her anyway?”

I blow out the smoke as I answer. “She likes me.”

He shakes his head. “That’s not a good reason.”

“Whatever, bro. Who do you like? I saw you with Stephanie the other day. What’s up with that?”

“Nothing is up. She’s just a friend.”

“Have you dated anybody lately? I can’t remember you ever having a girlfriend.”

Ali tenses up a bit. “Girls suck.”

“What are you? Eight?” I laugh. 

“You haven’t dated anyone either.”

I think back as I finish the beer. “I went out with Jess.”

“Dude. I was there with you guys at the movies. That was not a date.”

“Okay, well, I made out with Rochelle.”

“Making out is not dating.”

“Why are you giving me shit?”

“You’re the one who brought it up.” He laughs and chokes at the same time, sputtering out smoke.

I finish another beer and he smokes the rest of the joint. We’re both feeling pretty good, laughing at stupid shit, and making plans for the summer.

“You’re right, girls do suck,” I say after a couple minutes of silence, leaning back against the railing.

He chuckles. “I know, but why do you say that now? I thought you were gonna go out with Mindy.”

I watch him until he finally looks up at me. Our eyes stay connected for several seconds, and I start having those feelings again. I want to lean over and plant my lips on his. I want to taste his tongue and run my hands under his shirt and feel his body. I want to tangle my fingers in his long, wavy brown hair.

“I don’t want to date Mindy.”

Stuck in this staring contest, the air around us becomes charged with electricity. His head tilts just slightly, like he’s asking me a question without words. I figure now’s a good time to try to drop hints. If it doesn’t go the way I hope, I can blame it on the alcohol and weed.

My eyes roam his handsome face. His skin is flawless and mocha tinted, and his eyes are like honey. I finally land on his lips. They look soft and plump, and they’re perfectly proportioned. His tongue swipes across the bottom one as I continue to stare.


The use of my first name feels different and instantly pulls me out of my daze. “Yeah?”

“What’s goin’ on?”

“Nothing. What do you mean?”

“You’re looking at me like…”

“Like what?” I ask, arching a brow. 

Once again he glances at my lips, and there’s nothing about the way he’s looking at me that gives off a friend vibe. He’s looking at me like he wants me.

“Like…” he trails off again.

“Like you’re looking at me?”

We don’t say anything else. Instead, we slowly lean toward one another, each waiting for the other to pull away or ask what the hell is going on. Neither of us stops it. 

My lips brush against his. We’re cautious, taking our time. One peck leads to two. And then I put my hand on the side of his face and keep him in place as I slip my tongue into his mouth.

He moans which gives me the confidence to keep going. Our kiss turns passionate, and both my hands cradle his face as he fists the sides of my shirt and yanks me into him.

After a good thirty seconds, I ease away just slightly, but my hands are still on his face and his hands are still on my body.

“Ali,” I whisper.

The back door swings open, and the creaking sound sends me and Ali flying apart.

“Merrick.” Elijah’s stern voice steals my attention.

My heart hammers in my chest. Did he see? He looks surprised. Angry. He crosses his arms and narrows his eyes at me.

“Are you kidding me? You’re smoking weed? I could smell that shit as soon as I got out of the car.” He looks past me and Ali and finds the empty beer bottles. “And you’re drinking?” Elijah huffs, his jaw clenching. “Alejandro, I think you need to go home.”

Ali quickly stands up. “Sorry, Elijah.” 

My brother doesn’t say anything, he just steps to the side and lets Ali walk through the house.

I wait for him to start yelling and listing my punishments, but he just stands there and watches me. His anger quickly settles into something else. Disappointment? Concern?

“Go to your room, Merrick,” he says with a sigh. 

I stand up and slowly lift my head to meet his gaze. He puts his hand on my shoulder, and I suddenly want to break down and cry and tell him everything. But I don’t. I just walk past him and go to my room.


Cover Reveal

Wow, so I just realized I never had an official post for the cover reveal for Risking it All. Here’s the info, put together by the lovely ladies of Give Me Books.

Title: Risking it All
Series: Kingston Brothers #4
Author: Isabel Lucero
Genre: M/M Rockstar, Second Chance Romance
Cover Design: Robin Harper, Wicked by Design
Release Date: September 24, 2020


Ten years ago, I kissed my best friend.

Six years ago, my life changed and I went from being an unknown kid from a small town to a world-renowned rock star. Before leaving Gaspar, I told Ali we’d still be together. I made promises I didn’t keep, and I lied over and over again. I threw our plans out the window and made a life for myself.

I’ve barely had time to go home, because touring keeps me away. We haven’t been in touch in years, but after this tour, I’m heading home to find the only person who knows my deepest, darkest secret, and beg for forgiveness.

Ten years ago, I kissed my best friend, and his name is Alejandro Barerra. My Ali.

He may never forgive me for the broken promises or for breaking his heart, and I’m afraid he’ll never want to talk to me again, but he’s the only one who knows the real me, and I’m determined to win him back. Even if it means risking it all.

GOODREADS LINK: bit.ly/RiskingitAllGR

PRE-ORDER LINKS – $2.99 for a limited time!



“Ali,” I say softly. 
His eyes meet mine, and we stay connected for several seconds before I can find words. I want to say so much and have no idea where to start.
You look really good.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
I want another chance.
You’re so fucking beautiful.
I want you.
I’m an idiot.
Are you happy?
Do you have a boyfriend?
Do I still have a chance?
“I’ve missed you.”
He rolls his eyes and looks away. “Sure.”
I lean forward and rest my arms on the table between us. “Come on, man. You were my best friend. You were … everything to me. Of course I’ve missed you.”
“I’m surprised you could remember me with all the women you’ve been with over the years. Who were the last ones? The two in Paris? Oh wait, no. There was another one in Germany, right? Two weeks ago?”
I fall back in my chair and let my arms drop to the sides. “Don’t tell me you believe everything they say in the tabloids.”
“So, you’re telling me none of that’s true?” he asks, throwing me a side eye before looking back at the yard.
“Yeah, I’ve been out with women. Yes, I was seen with two chicks in Paris and one in Germany. But I didn’t sleep with them, Ali.”
He snorts, not believing me. “It’s not like it even matters.”
“I want you to believe me, so yes, it does it matter.”
“I’ve believed you before, and you’ve only let me down.”
I run my hand over my face and lean forward again. “Okay, yes. I’m a fucking asshole, okay? I know that. It lives with me every day. Have I slept with women? Yes, I have. I’ve done a lot of things I wish I didn’t, but you don’t understand what it’s like to be me. I’m having to lie to everybody on a day-to-day basis. I’ve been trying to lie to myself. I wondered if I could be with a woman, so I tried it. There’s women around all the time, and I wanted to get off without having to do it myself.
“It’s not easy finding a man to be with when your face is everywhere. How could I hookup with a guy and be sure he wouldn’t run and tell everybody that Merrick Kingston is gay? So, yes, I’ve fucked some women, and I hated myself the entire time I was doing it. I’ve gotten blowjobs and handjobs from them, too. But those women in Paris and the one in Germany? I was not with them. I haven’t slept with anyone in a long time.”
When Ali looks at me again, his eyes hold a sadness in them. Maybe pity. I hate that. I don’t want him to feel sorry for me. That wasn’t the point of my rant. I just want him to try to understand. I want him to know I won’t lie to him anymore.
“Aren’t you tired?” he asks.
I don’t have to ask what he’s talking about. I know he’s asking if I’m tired of pretending. “You have no idea.”
His lips turn down in the corners. “You stopped calling me.”
“You stopped answering.”
“Well, I was mad at you.”
“Was?” I ask, a little hopeful.
Ali sighs and pins me with a look. “You didn’t tell me you were leaving town. You led me to believe we had a future together. You told me you loved me and you left two days later.”
“Fuck, I’m so sorry, Ali.”
I go to reach for him, but the back door opens. “Lunch is ready.”
Ali quickly stands up and makes his way inside.


#1 On the Rocks

Free in Kindle Unlimited

#2 Truth or Dare

Free in Kindle Unlimited

#3 Against the Rules

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Fun Fact Friday

The theme for this Fun Fact Friday is about the Kingston Brothers series.

When I first started “plotting” out this series, they were going to a bit different. I have plotting in quotations because I don’t really plot. I get a general idea and sit down and see what happens.

So I knew their names, but Royce was going to be younger than he ended up, but only by a few years. You know Cillian? Our tatted up tattoo artist and painter? He was going to be a writer! He had a whole different vibe. His previous relationship was going to be delved into a little more and kind of have a love triangle vibe with someone who WASN’T Midge. Wanna know why? Midge was never supposed to get her own book. I didn’t plan for her and Cill to get together until I was almost done writing On the Rocks.

One of the brothers was going to be divorced, but I decided to change that. I’m pretty sure it was Elijah.

I always knew Elijah would have the student/teacher theme, and Merrick was always going to be gay, but his story changed a little. At first I was going to have his love interest have a job that put him on the road with him for a little while. They were still going to have a past together, but I decided I wanted him to be in his hometown when their story took place.

If you read Against the Rules, you might remember this little exchange between Merrick and Elijah. “Hey, man. I’m not judging you. You’re attracted to who you’re attracted to.” And that was just a little hint into his story.

Like I mentioned in the acknowledgments in On the Rocks, the town this takes place in was named after my late father. Stores like Nae’s Gourmet Coffee Shop, Flaky Vicki’s, The Teacup (and Doreen who owned it) and Victor’s specialty soda shop are all named after family members. Small characters were named after family members, too.

Stories the brothers told around the table are things that my kids have done. Well, not all of them. And some were some I did as a teen. Hunter was based on an old ex-boyfriend, who I’m glad is an ex. Haha!

As far as the other stories go, more and more kept being added. In Risking it All, you’ll see the name Chaparral. It’s the town Ali lives in, but it was actually the street me and my husband first lived together on. Box O Tacos was a place in my own hometown, but that was actually called Taco Box. And it was me who ate my cheese sticks the way Merrick did, and I always argued that their strawberry Mountain Dew was better than the strawberry Sierra Mist, though my husband would disagree.

Honestly, there’s so many stories that came from my real life I can’t even keep track.

Have any questions about these guys? The stories? Anything? Leave them below and I’ll answer!

Less than a month to go!

Grab your copies now. The first three are in KU!





Think Again/Chapter One

With a curvy body and long, red hair, she’s my complete opposite. I watch from a chair in the lobby as she makes her way to the hotel elevator. The dress she wears hugs her body in all the right places, and I can’t help but wonder if I could pull off the same outfit. Unfortunately, probably not. She has a slight smile as the brass doors close, taking her to a room upstairs. Something about the way she holds herself screams confidence, and her little smirk tells me she’s looking forward to going upstairs and having some fun. With a sigh, I begin flipping through an interior design magazine that was left on the table in front of me.

      I’ve been sitting here people watching for a little while now. Earlier, I had a drink with my friend, Carmen, who works at the bar in this hotel. Considering she spends most of her time here, I understood when she wanted to leave after one drink. Since I wasn’t ready to go home, I found a secluded place in the lobby to sit and relax, not wanting to sit alone at the bar.

      I browse through the magazine for a while before my phone vibrates, alerting me of an email from my boss.


      This time next week I need you to pick somebody up from the airport. This is an important person to me, and one who will hopefully be working with us soon. Once I have flight information, I’ll pass it on, but clear your schedule for next Friday.
Scott A. Monroe


Great. I get to play chauffeur to the newbie. I don’t bother sending a response, choosing to drop my phone in my purse instead. Scott already knows I’ll do it, because I don’t exactly have a choice since he’s my boss, and honestly, I really like the man. I’m sure he’ll confirm with me on Monday, anyway.

       Having a new person in the office isn’t a bad thing, though. With JoAnn quitting like she did last week, we need help at the receptionist desk of the private practice we work in. I wonder why this person is so special though, and why they’re flying in for this job. I’m sure there are plenty people in Anchorage who could work as a receptionist.

      I don’t have time to think about it further, because the red-headed woman is back, catching my attention once again. She exits the elevator, looking almost exactly the way she did when she went in. I expected messed up hair and smeared makeup, but I guess even though she’s only been gone for nearly thirty minutes, she had time to freshen up before leaving the room. She either didn’t have sex or it wasn’t that good and didn’t last too long. My gaze stays on her as she walks toward me.

      When she sits down on the couch across from me, I go back to pretending to read my magazine. The scent of her perfume invades my nostrils, and based on the strength of it, it would appear she bathed herself in it. The scent is floral and sweet, smelling like one of those Victoria Secret body sprays.  I glance over my magazine at her and notice she’s keeping her eye on the elevators. Waiting. Her thick, red hair falls over her shoulders, covering up some of the major cleavage she’s sporting.

      I place the magazine back on the table and gather my purse, figuring it’s time to go. She gives me a friendly smile as our eyes meet, and I return it with a quick, tight grin before walking to the other side of the lobby where they sell refreshments. I buy a bottle of water and a muffin, and while I’m waiting for the cashier to give me my change, I look back at the redhead.

      The elevator door dings, and I watch as she stands and begins to walk in that direction, her hips swaying with every step. A man comes strutting out, his bright blue tie is loose around his neck, and his black suit jacket looks a little wrinkled. It appears that the dirty blonde hair on his head has been pulled on, evidence of a romp in the sack. Almost as if he can hear my thoughts, he runs his hands through it, trying to get each hair in place.

      The woman approaches him, and he looks a little surprised to see her, but she smiles and shimmies her body up next to him. He smirks down at her and says something that makes her laugh fill the lobby.

      “Here you go,” the cashier says, grabbing my attention.

      “Thanks,” I respond distractedly, getting my change.

      When I look back in the direction of the couple, I find that they’re already stepping outside. I put my change in my purse, take a few bites of my muffin before deciding I don’t really want it after all. After tossing it in the trash and taking a few sips of my water, I exit the hotel and take a deep breath of the fresh air. I need to get home before it gets too late, so I hurry to my car and begin my journey.

      The drive from the Embassy Suites to my house takes between fifteen and twenty minutes depending on traffic. At the end of July in Anchorage, the weather is just about as perfect as you can ask for. On some days it’s sixty-seven degrees, on others it’s seventy-five. Believe me when I tell you, sixty anything degrees is extremely warm in Alaska. When you hit negative temps in the winter, anything above forty is pretty good.

      Right now, even at six-thirty at night, the sun is shining like it’s midday. It won’t begin to go down until sometime between ten-thirty and eleven. Gotta love Alaska.

      When I pull up to my two-story home and into the garage, I’m not surprised to see that my husband isn’t home yet. He’s always late coming home from work, telling me his job as an architectural and engineering manager is never done. Aaron is constantly having to finish up plans before certain deadlines, and when he comes home, he’s usually back to work in his office soon after.

      As soon as I enter the house, I take off my shoes and leave them in the mudroom before walking straight upstairs. The large and numerous windows in the house let in the natural sunlight, and give you a beautiful view of mountains and trees in every room.

      My achy feet take me to my dresser where I pull out something to change into. As I strip out of my work clothes, I take a minute to look over my reflection in the mirror. My blond hair is tied up into a ponytail, and my nurse’s scrubs are the least flattering things I can wear. Once everything is off, my green eyes look over every inch of my body.

      I like to think I’m still in pretty good shape. I’m not curvy like the lady at the hotel, but I’m happy with my body. I don’t have huge boobs or a lot of ass, but I think I’m well-proportioned.

      I often have to tell myself I’m good enough, but you know, self-doubt always creeps in. I try not to compare myself to other women. There were times where I’d see one woman and think to myself, “Oh, I wish I had her toned legs.” Then another woman would walk by and I’d think, “Oh, I’d love to have her boobs.” Now my thought process is: Fuck it. I am who I am. There are still times when I think I’m not good enough, but I’ll get to the why of that later.

      I put on some yoga pants and a tank top, opting to take a bubble bath later, and choosing to eat dinner first. I’m not in the kitchen too long before I have a large bowl of grilled chicken salad prepared. As I’m scooping the mixture onto make my plate, I hear the garage door open.

      Aaron strolls into the kitchen a minute later and drops his briefcase on the island.

      “Hey. Want some food?” I ask him.

      He eyes the bowl of salad and makes a face. “No. I’m gonna grab a shower real quick.”

      “Okay. How was work?”

      “Work was,” he pauses and lets out a long sigh, “work.”

      I give him a small smile and nod.

      I’ve been married to Aaron for three years, but we’ve been together for nearly seven. I was just twenty-one when we began dating, and he was twenty-five. Aaron was charming, handsome, funny, and a romantic. He was so easy to fall for.

      I was working at a coffee shop while going to college, and he was one of my regulars. Every time he came in, he flirted with me, and eventually began bringing me a single flower with each visit. He didn’t ask me out right away, though.

      Every day I anticipated his visit, hoping that that day would be the day he’d ask me out. One of my co-workers kept telling me to just ask him out, but my pride wouldn’t let me do that. I thought I was giving him enough signals without throwing myself at him completely.

      Aaron looked like he stepped straight out of a magazine every time he walked into the shop. His perfect smile melted me, his dazzling hazel eyes hypnotized me, his blond hair was strategically in place, and he was always dressed immaculately.

      After about a month and a half, he finally asked me out. I fell hard and fast. We were the happiest, most affectionate couple, and our friends gave us shit about it all time. Sickeningly sweet is what they called us. My girlfriends were mad that at such a young age, I was already “tied down” and not wanting to go out with them anymore. I didn’t even care. I didn’t miss the single lifestyle. I had Aaron, and we were happy.

      Janna would always tell me I should think twice about settling down so fast, and reminded me constantly that I had only had one boyfriend before him. My co-worker, Mel, would always try to convince me to stay single like her so we could go out together.

      I figured they were jealous. Everybody wanted an Aaron, if not Aaron himself, and I had him. I wasn’t going to let my happily ever after slip through my fingers.

      Perhaps, I should have thought twice, because like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

      I walk around the kitchen island and toward my husband. I remove his already loose, bright blue tie, and then his wrinkled black suit jacket.

      “I’ll put these in the laundry room,” I tell him. “Bring me the rest after your shower.”

      He gives me a hasty kiss on my cheek. “Thanks.”

      I watch him disappear upstairs and I’m left alone with the smell of the red-headed woman’s perfume on his clothes.

Grab your copy now. Also available in KU.

He thinks I don’t know.
He thinks he’s getting away with it.
He thinks karma won’t come back to get him.
He needs to think again.

Men think women are vindictive, and maybe they’re right. But when we get to the point of being cold, calculating, and vindictive, it’s because they pushed us there.
Not only is my husband unaware that he’s pushing me too far, he also doesn’t realize that I just met a man who’s ready to catch me.

I think he’s just my new co-worker.
I think it’s just innocent flirting.
I think I’ll be able to keep my morals.
I need to think again.

Darkness Within/Chapter One

Okay, so a little backstory on Darkness Within first. I’ve read some dark romance books before, and I’ve read blurbs of many more, and a lot of it was similar in the sense that it was “John Doe was the meanest, toughest, take-no-shit alpha male, but everything changed when it came to her.” “He wasn’t interested in love or relationships until her.”
You know? Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking shit. I LOVE dark romances. I love anti-heroes and villains. Like, a lot! I love that a big, tough guy can become gentler for his lady. However, I wanted to write a story where the male was set in his ways. He wasn’t changing for anybody! There wouldn’t be a chick to get him to be anything other than what he was. And I say that in the blurb, but I don’t think people really believed it. Haha.

Here’s the blurb for Darkness Within:

I feel it happening. The pressure builds. My skin prickles. And the only thing that tames the darkness, getting it back to resting peacefully inside me, is to unleash it. I have to let it wreak havoc, and I quite enjoy the mayhem.

Analeigh Price comes into my life and does the one thing I despise—question me about my past. She can pretend she wants to get to know me all she wants, but she’s not ready for the truth. I won’t become a better person for her, because I am who I am. She can’t fix me, because my wounds are unfixable.

You see, I’m not like everybody else. Oh, no. I’m different. My humanity was stripped from me long ago, and those who are responsible are about to be paid a visit. You’ve never heard a story like mine, because I’m unlike anyone you’ve ever met. I’m no hero. I’m the guy you don’t want to piss off, because once the darkness within me is unleashed, it’ll be too late to get away.

What’s my name? It’s Donovan. Donovan James. But the darkness is taking over, and it’s only good at one thing, so I must go.

Sooo, to sum up, this isn’t a romance story. It’s an erotic story. It definitely has some hot, steamy moments. Whew! But it’s also thrilling and gritty. It was so much fun to write a character who was so different from all my other characters. Honestly, toward the end of the book, I thought I could write a book two. There’s definitely more story to tell, but if I’m being honest, this book didn’t sell extremely well, and it’s probably because it’s not romance. Or maybe it’s because I’m just not a big enough name, and people didn’t see it. Who knows? So, I put off writing another one because I didn’t think it would be worth it. But never say never. I love Donovan.

Anywhoo, here’s the first chapter. It’s available in KU!

“Chief Frank Larsen of the San Bernardino Police Department says they are looking for information regarding fifty-one year old, Steve Baker’s whereabouts. He was reported missing by his neighbor who told police she was concerned when he didn’t show up for their morning get-together on his porch—something they’ve done for years.  After waiting all day, and never getting a response at his door or on his phone, she called the police stating he had no family that would report him missing. Upon entering the home, police did find evidence of a struggle. If anybody has any information…” 

“Yeah, I can hear you,” I say into the phone as I mute the TV. 

“Will you be able to make it out on Saturday?” Nick asks me, referring to his birthday celebration. 

I pinch the bridge of my nose between my forefinger and thumb, squeezing my eyes shut as I allow my chin to touch my chest. “What’s the plan again?” 

“We’ll start the night watching the game and having some beers at Celebrities. After that, we’ll probably find a bar or club to spend the rest of the night at. You in?” 

I stifle my groan. “Ah. Maybe. I might have plans, but I’ll let you know tomorrow.” 

Nick sighs loudly over the receiver. He’s used to me blowing him off, but it doesn’t stop him from inviting me to things. “All right, man. Let me know.” 

I hang up and place the phone next to me before reaching for the remote to unmute the TV. The news has gone off, replaced by some stupid reality dating show. With a huff, I press the power button and get up from the black, leather couch. My feet carry me across the wooden floors, taking me to the deck on the side of my house.

Here in Twin Peaks, my home is nestled in the mountains and surrounded by trees that dwarf the houses that reside near them. More importantly, however, the neighbors are scarce. It’s not a big home and it’s nothing fancy, but the privacy makes living here worth it. The houses that are closest to me cannot be seen from my property, and again, more importantly, they can’t see mine. This is where I feel most content—away from crowds of people, in my own element, where I’m in control. Where I can be me. 

As a kid I was labeled a weirdo, a loner, and called many more names I’ve long tried to forget. The labels kids put on me in school didn’t bother me as much as what was happening to me at home. The terms my foster parents used to refer to me—little shit, worthless, good-for-nothing, waste of space, were still not as bothersome as being hit, kicked, starved, touched, and locked in a closet. 

I never thought I’d find happiness in a small, dark place, but at least in that closet, I knew I was alone. 

The kids didn’t know why I preferred being alone. They didn’t understand I had already lost the ability to trust people. Now I choose to be by myself as much as possible due to my abhorrence for much of the human population. Sure, there’s probably some well-meaning people in the world, but I’ve yet to meet very many. However, I try to exist like any normal person would, putting my mask in place every time I leave my house.

I no longer steer clear of people because I’m afraid of them or don’t trust them. That ship has sailed. I tend to steer clear of them for fear of how I’d react if they upset me too much. I don’t trust the darkness that resides inside of me. 

You know how people say if your parent is a drunk, you’re more likely to become a drunk? Or if your dad was abusive, you’re likely to abuse your own family? Yeah, well I was lucky enough to have alcoholic, abusive, demented, perverted, and neglectful parents. What do you think years of that does to a person? Nothing good, I can tell you that.  Maybe I’m just one of the unlucky ones. Perhaps after years of both mental and physical torture, my mind was too weak and it snapped, creating a person void of emotion. You have to learn to not feel anything after feeling entirely too much for too long. 

I sit in one of the black, aluminum patio chairs and rest my booted feet on the matching table. After swiping a pack of cigarettes from the railing of the deck, I pluck one from the box and light it up. The tip burns red as I inhale, and smoke filters up into the charcoal sky. 

My mind wanders, trying to figure out what I’m going to tell Nick regarding Saturday night. It’s not that I don’t like him. I like him about as much as I can like anybody, but everything in me despises being around people, especially large groups of people. The club and bar scene is not one I ever wanted to be a part of. Any place that serves liquor to people who don’t know how to handle it, is only looking for problems. 

I glance at my watch before putting my cigarette out and stride back into the house. One of the selling points with this place was the fact that it has its own little built-in workshop. At least that’s what I’m assuming it was used for. It’s connected to the back of the house, which is good because there are no homes or roads back there, only massive trees. 

The floor in the workshop is concrete, and besides the wall the workshop shares with my house, the walls are made of concrete blocks. There were two large windows in here before, but I’ve since covered them up with plywood—one piece on each side of the glass. 

When I enter the dark room, I pick up the lantern I left on the floor and turn it on. The fluorescent LED light is bright, but not enough to illuminate the entire room. My steps are unhurried as I make my way to the other side, but my boots clomp loudly with each stride. 

I approach the chair in the corner and lift the lantern up, holding it out in front of me. My menacing smile stretches across my face slowly. 

“Hello, Mr. Baker. Nice to see you’re awake.”